Less than a week remains until the annual USC spring football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The Trojans, however, are adjusting to a minor setback going into their final week of spring football practice.
Sophomore running back Tre Madden tore a ligament in his left knee following Thursday’s practice. Madden quickly became the sensation of spring practices after he switched from tailback to linebacker at the beginning of spring practice.
Before his season-ending injury, Madden was an easy fit into the running back corps since senior Curtis McNeal and sophomore D.J. Morgan were the only experienced players at the running back position.
Kiffin praised Madden Saturday for his versatility.
“[Madden is] one of the most valuable guys on our team,” Kiffin said.
Because of Madden’s injury, redshirt freshman Javorious “Buck” Allen and incoming freshman Nelson Agholor are expected to fill in at the tailback position. Allen, who comes in at 6-feet and 215 pounds, has stepped in for Madden’s absence.
Allen is still adjusting to the offensive schemes and pass protection.
“It is kind of overwhelming right now, but that is why I have coaches; they are here to help me,” Allen said.
Kiffin did not allow tackling during Saturday’s scrimmage at the Coliseum. Allen hoped that tackling would be included in the scrimmage.
“I can get hit and see how I feel,” Allen said. “[Saturday] I got back into a groove and got that running back feeling.”
Allen said that he will fully participate in Saturday’s spring game.
Allen has three practices remaining before the conclusion of spring football practice to prove that he can take up where Madden left off. Allen said that once he becomes more confident in his new role with the team, he believes everything will fall into place.
“Once I get fully healthy and gain confidence in myself, I feel like I can be that big back,” Allen said.
Running back coach Kennedy Polamalu is pleased with Allen’s performance thus far.
“He’s just learning to see the game a little quicker right now,” Polamalu said. “All the body parts are moving. He’s still looking around. He’s got those eyes rolling in the back of his head.”
Agholor, the 6-foot-one incoming freshman, will be another prospect for the tailback position even though he was recruited as a receiver. Agholor will officially join the team in the summer.
USC spring football practice will conclude Saturday at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum at 1:30 p.m., where the Trojans will host their annual spring game.
[Correction: A previous version said the spring game began at 11:00 a.m.. The game begins at 1:30 p.m. The Daily Trojan regrets the error.]